A common dietary recommendation for weight loss, especially in lay public outlets, is to eat more fruit and vegetables. However, according to findings of a study published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, without a compensatory reduction in total energy intake, increased consumption of fruits and vegetables is highly unlikely to result in any significant weight loss.
The researchers analyzed multiple databases for human randomized controlled trials that evaluated the effect of increased fruits and vegetables intake on body weight. Inclusion criteria were as follows: ≥15 subjects/ treatment arm, ≥8-wk intervention, a stated primary or secondary outcome of body weight, the stated goal of the intervention was weight or fat loss or the prevention of weight or fat gain, and food intake provided or prescribed was of a variety of fruits and vegetables that remained minimally processed.
The results of the meta-analysis indicated that studies that have tested increased fruits and vegetables intake in isolation from other interventions for weight loss, indicated no significant effects on body weight. The researchers concluded that on the basis of the current evidence, recommending increased fruits and vegetables consumption to treat or prevent obesity, without explicitly combining this approach with efforts to reduce intake of other energy sources, is unwarranted.